November 1, 2007


The great Australia trip came to a close, and now I have only the pictures to show for it. Ha! This blog entry has been a long time coming. I gave up on it a couple of times because I just thought I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. But, here’s what I’ve come up with and it will just have to do. =)

First of all, the Gold Coast is a dream. But, before I make you any more jealous, I just have to say, I spent most of my time hanging around by myself working from an empty apartment. Albeit sometimes poolside, it was still a somewhat lonely existence, and the “leisure” did eventually become tiresome. But, before you dry your crocodile tears or play your smallest violin for me (“Call the waaaahhhhmulance!”), I admit, it was one of the most memorable times of my life. There, no false pretence. And, since you’ve probably already seen loads of scenic pictures and animals, I will spare you the editorials on those subjects. This blog entry will focus on the beauties of Australian media!

But before we go there, I must say a word about the slang/dialect, which was a lot of fun. The accent is something so different from British or Irish or Scottish English. I thought for sure DH would have picked it up by the end, but it is not to be imitated! But, we did try and had many a good laugh over our weak impersonations. We tried to pick up as many phrases and words as we could to add to our vocabulary. DH still asks me, “How ya goin’?”

Here is a little sampling of the charming language!

· Mate – Friend.
· Blokey Bloke – Man’s Man.
· Chips – Fries.
· Trolley – Shopping cart.
· Good on ya – Good job, good for you (used quite often).
· Kiwi – Someone from New Zealand. Apparently stemming from an animal that’s endangered in New Zealand, not the fruit.
· Unit – Apartment.
· To stuff up – To mess up: “I stuffed up.”
· To feel stuffed – “I’m tired.”
· “I’m loving it sick” – Excessively enjoying oneself.
· BYO – This was often written next to or underneath a restaurant sign and on the menu. We joked about “bring your own” beer. Well, turns out, that’s what it means! Restaurants that are not licensed to sell alcohol will allow people in bring their own to their meal.
· “Cooee” – Bush greeting. Shouted loudly. Usually the people who say it are either kidding or drunk, or both, we found.
· Heaps – “A lot.”
· Fair go – A chance.
· How ya goin’? – How are you?
· Lolly – A piece of candy.
· Nick – To steal or take.
· What do you reckon? – What do you think?
· Wag – To skip school.
· XXXX – “Four X”— Australians favorite beer brand.
· Yabbie – Small freshwater crayfish.
· Fortnight – Two weeks, this term is used regularly. We heard it on TV several times as well as in advertising.
· Snag – Sausage.
· Dunny – Toilet.
· Hooroo – “Goodbye,” similar to “See ya later.”
· No drama or no worries – Expressions of forgiveness or reassurance.
· Togs – Swimsuit.
· Vinnie's – St. Vincent De Paul's (charity thrift stores and hostels). Australian “DI” if you will.
· Whinge – Complain. (We heard this one on Big Brother constantly! Along with “reckon.”)
· Biscuit – Cookie.

Two letters are pronounced differently in Aussie talk:

· H – “Hay-ch”
· Z – “Zed”

Most diminutives are either made with an “ie” or an “o,” or perhaps no ending at all, just a shortened version of the word. Aussies use loads of diminutives. Almost everything you can think of can be shortened. Take this little quiz and see how many you can get right! Answers at the bottom (scroll down).

Oz (This one could be tricky…)

Now, on to Aussie entertainment. Oh, yes! We did not have access to cable while we were in the land down under, but we did have a few channels. The main channel is Ten, which is where the beloved Big Brother came on . . . every day. Yes, you read correctly. Their most popular (and perhaps arguably, their only) reality television show had air time every single day of the week. I believe they were half hour shows Tuesday through Thursday, then there were hour long (sometimes longer) shows on Monday (nomination night), Friday (Friday night games where they would compete in American Gladiator–type obstacles for a chance at exemption and to spend the weekend in the very coveted “Rewards Room”), and Sunday (eviction night). Wow, that’s a lot of one show, if I must say so. And I did hear through the grape vine that the show is losing steam because of this overexposure. However, for DH and I, there will always be a soft spot in our hearts for the BB 2007 cast.

At first, we thought the show was pretty dumb. The first Friday night we were there, it was the only decent thing on the tube, and we were ready for some veg-out time. We really just sat there and made fun of it all night long, as the “big brother” voice told his little lemmings what to do, and where and how and when. The “rules” are quite strict of what you can and cannot do, and strange “tasks,” as they were called, are given each week to “encourage” little spats to break out.

I have a twinge of Aussie-homesickness when I hear those opening credits: Dah-da-da-da-dah, dadadada, dah-dah-dah. Have a look-see. The first clip is much shorter and actually took place before we arrived. The second is the episode in full, and was one Friday Night Live that we did watch! Enjoy!

The other portion of Aussie entertainment that we really enjoyed happened once a week on Sunday nights, a sort of “David Letterman” style show called Rove—Rove McManus, comedian/talk-show host extraordinaire. We got a good laugh out of him and the rest of his great cast: Pete’s Space with Peter Helliar (where he would pretty much put up a pictures of celebrities and make fun of them), Carrie at the News Desk with Carrie Bickmore (think Tina Fey from SNL news report), Hughesy Loses It with David Hughes (super-thick accented practically screaming man making jokes), Hamish and Andy (dynamic comedic duo, usually would do pre-taped skits, sometimes with Ryan Shelton in tow). Loads of entertainment people. Loads. The only way to do this, is to give you a taste:

This was my favorite Hamish and Andy skit.

Here’s Rove being funny. And you also get a little peek at Australia’s longest running soap opera!

But, the best example of Aussie humor has got to come from The Castle, circa 1997. Quirky characters, dry humor, but with a nice and sweet, get-you-in-the-gut family message in the end.

Quick Synopsis:
The Kerrigans live in a dumpy house next to the airport, and are a happy, comfortable and content family until they receive a letter about the compulsory acquisition of their house so that the airport can build a storage facility. Darryl's house is his home - his castle - and he is not prepared to give up without a fight. He takes his case to the Federal Court and then to the High Court, the Kerrigans taking on the role of the “Everyfamily” battling against the faceless corporate enemy. It may be pretentious to label The Castle as the funniest Australian comedy ever made, but that’s probably not far from the truth.
The Castle has a sentimental emotional core and many jokes are derived from the story of a charming family defending their home against a compulsory acquisition. Performances from a talented Australia cast have a sound sense of joke timing and of how to keep audiences interested. The Castle is a rare find; a funny, wonderful piece that shines in its own homely, honest way.

One night, The Castle came on after dinner. I was about to shut it off when DH recognized what it was. He’d heard this movie was a “classic” Australian film. A few minutes in, and we were hooked on the dry humor and strange characters! Unfortunately, about halfway through the film, F-bombs starting flying, which consequently turned into to an all-out air raid. I’m glad we toughed it out through the language bombardment just the once! And we felt so great being able to decipher “insider” jokes about “Bonnie Doon” and other such stuff. I miss that some days . . . Take a little look!

Well, now it’s time to say adieu. Good-bye dear land of the kangaroos . . . I will miss you! I hope you enjoyed our little trip down Aussie media lane.

Quiz answers:

Football (Rugby)
Poker (meaning slot machines)

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